Ricciardo in ‘a shitty place’ after qualifying mistake

Ricciardo will start from a miserable 17th place for Sunday's São Paulo GP

Ricciardo will start from a miserable 17th place for Sunday’s São Paulo GP. Image: Russell Batchelor/ XPB

Daniel Ricciardo has conceded to leaving himself in “a shitty place” after making mistakes in qualifying for Sunday’s São Paulo Grand Prix despite knowing he had the pace to reach the storm-hit Q3.

As the saying goes, what a difference a week makes because just six days after qualifying fourth on the grid for the Mexico City GP, Ricciardo will start from 17th at Interlagos.

A raft of setup changes out of the sole practice session gave Ricciardo an AlphaTauri he at least felt far more comfortable with through the first lap of Q1.

“We knew where the lap time was after looking at the setup,” confirmed Ricciardo, speaking to Speedcafe. “On the first run, I was really happy with the step we had made, and I was top-five or top-six for a little bit there.

“A few cars that didn’t do as good a first lap then went for three sets (of tyres) but I was quite confident we had the pace, so we stuck to a conventional plan.

“The last lap, though, was just a bad lap, to be honest. The outlap was a bit slower, and I probably should have known, so just coming into Turn 1, I probably tried to get a little bit too much out of it.

“I went wide through one, and then I had quite a nice tank slapper in two – I say nice, it wasn’t fun – and from there the lap time just started to drop away. I definitely left a lot of time on the table.

“Turn six, I felt like one of the Ferraris could have probably let me go before then, so (I lost) a little bit there, but probably from turn one and two the lap was already gone.”

Given his performance last weekend in Mexico, and the improvements made to the car prior to that race following the United States GP, Ricciardo feels he has a good car for Interlagos, but he knows points will be hard to come by.

“That’s where I’m obviously pretty disappointed with the lap,” added Ricciardo. “But I think the actual step we made from practice was a lot more encouraging.

“This morning we were quite a bit off, so I think we got the car back to a good place.

“On one hand, I’m happier going into the weekend with a better car but obviously P17 is a pretty shitty place to start.”

Ahead of the final sprint day on Saturday – with the shootout followed later in the day by the 24-lap event – Ricciardo knows he can do better.

“It’s one where we can try to make the most of tomorrow and who knows, maybe score something in the sprint,” said Ricciardo.

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